Adenah Bayoh, left, and Zadie Smith in Cornbread.
Restorer Adenah Bayoh and co-founder Zadie B. Smith have a grand opening Wednesday for Cornbread Newark, the newest location for their farm-to-table soul food restaurant.
Cornbread Newark, the second location in New Jersey and the third overall, is on 915 Broad St., a new 84-unit residence in the heart of downtown Newark that Bayoh co-developed.
Why you need to know Adenah Bayoh – and why people are cheering the things she has to say
When Adenah Bayoh received her fourth, fifth and sixth ovations from the crowd at the Newark Regional Business Partnership event last March, three things became clear to the 200 or so people in the room:
- Having women on panels is a good thing;
- It is even better to have colored women on blackboards.
- With Bayoh you really have moments of thought leadership.
We have long been admirers of Bayoh’s success and recorded her American dream story, which included coming to this country at age 13 – escaping the civil war in her native Liberia – graduating from the Newark Public Schools system and then from Fairleigh Dickinson University before we founded Adenah Bayoh and Cos, the parent company of an IHOP franchise company; their own fast-casual restaurants, cornbread; and several residential and commercial redevelopment projects in North Jersey.
Because of this, she was featured on the latest ROI-NJ Influencers Power List and asked to participate in a panel on the future of real estate development in Newark.
On that occasion, Bayoh did a lot more than just recite her résumé. She challenged audiences of business leaders and developers in Newark.
(READ MORE from our profile by clicking here.)
And read more from ROI-NJ about cornbread:
Bayoh, listed in the Real Estate category on the ROI Influencers: Power List 2021 earlier this week, was delighted to open the restaurant during a pandemic – and during Black History Month.
“The ongoing public health emergency has been devastating to the Newark community and the restaurant industry,” she said. “Given the space I occupy as a black woman and daughter of Newark, it was important to me to promote the safe and responsible opening of this new location to provide employment and hospitality services to residents of the city.
“Giving back to the community is a top priority in all of my business ventures.”
Smith, also the founder, owner and general manager of Zadie’s Nurturing Den in Summit, as well as Zadie’s Early Childhood Center and Zadie’s Oranges in East Orange, is grateful for the opportunity.
Smith said the Cornbread franchise is a perfect fit for their portfolio during these troubled times.
“Cornbread is about community and family because Soul Food is about community and family,” she said. “Because of the public health crisis, people are completely unemployed or working longer and unsustainably.
“We want our soul food to offer comfort and convenience from the farm to the table and to give people a feeling of family, even if they cannot be with their loved ones.”
Bayoh is a true thought leader in urban development for members of underserved communities.
Developing in urban areas can be challenging – and one that relies on a number of partners, she said.
“Cornbread Newark would not be possible without my co-founder Zadie B. Smith, our great team, our partners and the Newark community,” she said. “I cannot thank Mayor Ras Baraka and the City of Newark enough for continuing to welcome me with open arms.”
Cornbread is the latest benchmark in Newark’s ongoing renaissance despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Bayoh, a graduate of Newark’s public school system, was a key figure in the city’s redevelopment efforts, starting with the purchase of IHOP Newark in 2017, which saved 50 jobs.
Bayou is the founder and CEO of Adenah Bayoh and Cos. – the parent company of IHOP franchises in Paterson, Irvington and Newark – and a real estate development portfolio with hundreds of millions of dollars in urban development projects.
The first cornbread restaurant opened in Maplewood in the fall of 2017. A second location opened in 2019 near Pittsburgh in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.